When Harry Leichter founded Premier Paint Roller Co. LLC in 1968, he sought to create quality paint rollers. As the industry evolved, the company moved with it, shifting to synthetic roller fabrics and adapting to polyesters and wovens. One area of the business where Premier Paint Roller never wavered was in its commitment to working with independents.
“My grandfather started the business focused on the independent channel, and that continued when my father Morty took over after him,” says Kevin Leichter, CEO of the Richmond Hill, New York-based company. “Our business was built on the distribution model and independent retailers throughout North America. We’re continuing to focus on growing that channel.”
Today, through direct relationships and distribution groups, Premier Paint Roller supplies thousands of independent retailers and other industry retailers. In addition to a full line of rollers, the company now offers brushes, roller frames, extension poles, drop cloths, prep tools and more. To assist retailers, the company provides product catalogs and in-store displays that can be customized for larger customers.
As the company has expanded its product line, it also has expanded its facilities. In addition to the corporate headquarters in Richmond Hill, the company operates an office in Shanghai along with facilities in Phoenix and Mexico City. The Richmond Hill facility exceeds 200,000 square feet in total real estate.
This year, the company celebrates its 50th year producing applicator products. Helmed by the third generation of family ownership, Premier Paint Roller is embarking on a new expansion in its line to mark its longevity in the industry.
The business is reinvesting in manufacturing in order to bring a new line of products to market. In the past, Premier Paint Roller offered its own line of paintbrushes, but the company decided to shift away from that business segment. However, Leichter believes the company’s success with rollers can be focused on other applicators going forward.
“I said, ‘If we’re offering these independent dealers very high-quality and very competitively priced roller covers, why can’t we do it for them with a
100 percent DuPont™ Chinex® brush or a DuPont™ nylon poly paintbrush as well?’” Leichter says. “This is an over seven-figure investment with the newest and best equipment available from around the world. I’m confident we have a global team in place to execute this over the next few months, and we plan on growing this part of the business and offering the independent channel and our contractors a very high-quality brush at a very competitive price.”
Premier Paint Roller isn’t taking this investment lightly, Leichter says. As a U.S. manufacturer, he knows the paint and decorating industry is a competitive market. By offering new products and investing capital into manufacturing, Leichter hopes to make Premier Paint Roller a more comprehensive source for his customers.
Over the past five decades, Premier Paint Roller has experienced a lot of growth and change, something Leichter expects to continue for the next five decades and beyond. He and his sister, Sari Nathan, who serves as COO, are committed to growing the business.
As the third generation of the family to run Premier Paint Roller, Leichter and Nathan believe the investment in new products will help continue the business’s growth and ensure it remains as committed to retailers’ success in the future.
“Everything Sari and I do is always in the best interests of the company in terms of the long-term outlook,” he says. “There’s nothing we’d do for our business that is on a short-term horizon. It’s a very different model than a larger company that is publicly traded.”
That independent mindset is something Premier Paint Roller has in common with its independent customers. “Many paint and hardware retailers are family-owned businesses just like ourselves,” Leichter says. “There aren’t too many family-owned manufacturers left in the U.S. It’s very important to us.”